The beer-brewing process produces high amounts of nutrient-rich wastewater, and the increasing number of microbreweries worldwide has created a need for innovative solutions to deal with this waste. In the present study, fungal biomass production and the removal of organic carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen from synthetic brewery wastewater were studied. Different filamentous fungi with a record of safe use were screened for growth, and Trametes versicolor, Pleurotus ostreatus and Trichoderma harzianum were selected for further work. The highest biomass production, 1.78 ± 0.31 g L(-1) of dry weight, was observed when P. ostreatus was used for the treatment, while T. harzianum demonstrated the best capability for removing nutrients. The maximum reduction of chemical oxygen demand, 89% of the initial value, was observed with this species. In the removal of total nitrogen and phosphorus, no significant difference was observed between the species, while removal of ammonium varied between the strains. The maximum reduction of ammonium, 66.1% of the initial value, was also found in the T. harzianum treatment. It can be concluded that all treatments provided significant reductions in all water-quality parameters after 3 days of growth and that the utilisation of filamentous fungi to treat brewery wastewater, linked to a deliberate strategy to use the biomass produced, has future potential in a bio-based society.
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